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  • Big Tobacco invests in Canadian marijuana, leaving B.C.'s craft-cannabis producers uneasy

    A midsize U.S. company has bought majority stakes in two Canadian businesses to prepare for the medicinal-marijuana trade
    The Georgia Straight (Canada)
    Wednesday, February 28, 2018

    canada big marijuanaEarlier this month, an unremarkable sentence appeared in a quarterly report published by Alliance One International, a tobacco company headquartered in North Carolina. “In January, we successfully acquired majority stakes in two new joint ventures,” it reads. Further into the document, it is announced that an Alliance One subsidiary called Canadian Cultivated Products had secured a 75-percent equity position in Canada’s Island Garden Inc. and an 80-percent stake in Goldleaf Pharm Inc. Island Garden and Goldleaf Pharm are medicinal-cannabis companies. (See also: Big US tobacco company buys stakes in Canadian cannabis growers, American hemp firm)

  • Uruguay leads world in cannabis regulation but US law intrudes

    Small pharmacies don’t usually attract crowds but most weeks in Uruguay thousands of people queue outside the country’s dozen drugstores licensed to sell cannabis
    Wednesday, February 28, 2018

    Uruguay was the first country in the world to fully regulate the cannabis market and so break free from a global prohibitionist regime that has prevailed for decades and is now under strain. The nation of 3.4 million people justified its decision on public health and human rights grounds, arguing that it was in its citizens’ best interests for the state to step in and regulate an industry run dominated by drug dealers. Whereas legalization in several U.S. states almost always had strong popular support, Uruguay’s decision hinged on regulating, rather than promoting, access to cannabis. Uruguay’s regulatory regime has the potential to yield valuable data researchers could use to compare against other models and gain a clearer picture of which policies best suit different countries.

  • Federal NDP, Liberals considering decriminalization of all drugs

    The national Liberal caucus has signaled an appetite for change with a resolution to be considered at that party's national policy convention in Halifax in April
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Tuesday, February 27, 2018

    Two of Canada's three major political parties are considering removing criminal penalties for the personal possession and use of all drugs – a step that health and drug policy experts say is critical in treating problematic substance use as a health issue. At a national convention in Ottawa, the federal New Democratic party passed a resolution to end the criminalization of the personal possession of all drugs, a move in line with leader Jagmeet Singh's position that problematic drug use should be treated as a social-justice and health-care issue rather than a criminal matter. The NDP is the first major Canadian party to advocate for decriminalization. (See also: Liberal caucus proposes decriminalization of illegal drug use, simple possession)

  • High-strength cannabis now dominates illegal market, study finds

    Samples showed huge rise in highly psychoactive strains, raising public health concerns
    The Guardian (UK)
    Tuesday, February 27, 2018

    Almost all cannabis seized by police now comprises high-strength varieties, with outdoor-grown herbal strains and hashish barely found, according to a new analysis. In the first study of its kind for 10 years, researchers from GW Pharmaceuticals and King’s College London found 94% of samples seized were varieties with a high psychoactive content, suggesting they dominate the illicit market. The increasing discrepancy between THC and CBD levels in cannabis could increase the number of users at risk of developing psychotic disorders. "It’s certainly worth putting the real risk into context, which this doesn’t," said Jon Liebling of the United Patients Alliance (UPA). "The risk of early onset psychosis due to long-term heavy use of cannabis is one in 26,000."

  • Tribes cut out of California pot market might grow their own

    Issues involving sovereignty touch a sensitive subject for tribes, and they see the predicament with marijuana as part of a history of exploitation
    Los Angeles Times (US)
    Monday, February 26, 2018

    American Indian tribes that say they have been cut out of California's legal marijuana market have raised the possibility of going their own way by establishing pot businesses outside the state-regulated system that is less than two months old. The tribes floated the idea of setting up rival farms and sales shops on reservations after concluding that rules requiring them to be licensed by the state would strip them of authority over their own lands and their right to self-governance. At issue are legally thorny questions about who governs whom, taxation and the intersection of state marijuana laws with tribes that the federal government recognizes as sovereign nations within the U.S.

  • Drugs should not be in the hands of organized crime

    Regulation cannot make drugs entirely safe but well-designed regulation does reduce risk, particularly if it is not ruled by free-market impulses
    The Hill (US)
    Sunday, February 25, 2018

    Drug overdoses are one of the leading causes of death in the United States and are contributing to decline in life expectancy. The opioid epidemic has cost an estimated $1 trillion since 2001. And yet, to date, there has been no comprehensive response to the crisis. The US needs to embrace the policies that have helped reverse heroin epidemics in the past, especially opioid substitution therapy (instead of the focus on immediate abstinence) and harm-reduction services (needle and syringe programs, drug checking, wide availability of overdose reversal medication, and safe-injection facilities). Decriminalization also has been linked to better health outcomes, allowing people in need to access, without fear of harsh punishment, these various life-saving services.

  • Let cities open safe injection sites

    The New York Times (US)
    Saturday, February 24, 2018

    One of the most consistent patterns in the more than 64,000 deaths attributed to opioid and other drug overdoses in 2016 was that the victims’ last moments went unobserved. Last year, the number of deaths was most likely even higher. In the face of this emergency, dedicated public health officials and policymakers have suggested some vital solutions. One important, rigorously tested harm-reduction method, however, is still rarely discussed in the United States: supervised drug consumption sites, also known as safe injection sites. This must change. All evidence so far shows these facilities have proved incredibly effective at slashing overdose deaths in every country that has welcomed them.

  • Opioids and methamphetamine: a tale of two crises

    The shift in public health priorities to opioids has left the methamphetamine market to flourish and primed for resurgence
    The Lancet (UK)
    Saturday, February 24, 2018

    The unchecked acceleration of opioid-related deaths in the USA is, by many measures, the worst of times. Prescriptions peaked in 2012 at more than 255 million (81·3 per 100 persons), then subsequently declined by about 15%. Yet the rate of opioid-related deaths has continued to rise. In the grim ranking of overdose deaths, illegally manufactured fentanyl and analogues have made the most drastic gains, claiming over 20 100 Americans in 2016. Deaths from natural and semisynthetic opioids, such as oxycodone and morphine, remain exceedingly high (14 400). But while the opioid crisis has exploded, the lull in the methamphetamine epidemic has quietly and swiftly reversed course, now accounting for 11% of the total number of overdose deaths.

  • Cannabis group discusses medical marijuana sector

    Call on the government to ensure that traditional farmers become an integral part of the process, that the new law reflects the interest of the growers
    iWitness News (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
    Thursday, February 22, 2018

    More than 25 persons representing cannabis growers and consumers from several communities throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines met at Victoria Park to discuss government’s announcement to legalise medical cannabis. The meeting, which was called by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cannabis Revival Committee (SVGCRC) was presided over by Junior Spirit Cottle, who is also the committee’s president and Vice President Ajit Duncan. The meeting looked at the restructuring of the organisation to enable it to operate more effectively. The SVGCRC has been calling for alternative livelihood for growers, medical cannabis and decriminalisation, as well as the legal right of Rastas to use cannabis as a religious sacrament.

  • Denmark’s high hopes to become Europe’s biggest medical cannabis producer

    New laws spawn a growth in the industry as 12 permits are issues, with three more impending
    The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)
    Thursday, February 22, 2018

    Denmark will soon become one of the largest medical cannabis producers in Europe. Since December 2017, the Laegemiddelstyrelsen medicines agency has issued 12 permits to companies to produce medical cannabis. The authorisations followed last year’s parliamentary approval of a four-year trial for doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to patients, which began on January 1. Since this approval, 17 companies have sought the right to produce medical cannabis in Denmark. Two were rejected and three are still awaiting a decision. However, the new industry is being tightly regulated. The decision of the Danish government has attracted international interest from large corporations based in North America.

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